Watching your dog chewing on paws can be distressful to watch.
This is another one of those strange and worrying habits that your dog may suddenly start doing for no obvious reasons. However, just like all of these habits it can be stopped naturally and without the need for expensive vet bills.
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Dog chewing on paws. Why?
Dogs will chew their paws and feet for various reasons, some of which are behavioral and others non-behavioral. Now, as a dog owner, and you observe this behavior in your pup, you should consider looking into it.
Some of these reasons include;
a) Food allergies
This might not appear common but dogs do develop allergies from consuming certain foods. Some of the symptoms that will help you determine an allergy include;
Puffy face; your dog’s face will appear swollen after eating certain foods or food products. This could be an indicator of exposure to an allergen.
Hives; just like humans, dogs also develop hives when they are having an allergic reaction to something. Does your dog get hives often? You might consider looking into his diet.
Other symptoms include redness of the skin, itchiness, and restlessness. With help from the vet, you should be able to treat allergic reactions to certain foods. You should also change his diet to some foods he is accustomed to.
Some foods that may cause an allergic reaction to some dogs include beef, pork, wheat, and others. It is not as different as it is with humans.
b) Other allergies
Not only can dogs be allergic to food but also to certain triggers. For instance, your dog might develop an allergic reaction to pesticides or herbicides. This could affect his paws making them itchy and thus he chews them.
This could happen after walking your dog on treated grass, maybe at the park. Other than pesticides, your dog can be allergic to your carpet cleaner. It is important to look out for the above-discussed symptoms if your dog is chewing paws.
The environmental factors that promote allergic reactions are more common in dogs. If the park has been treated, it is important to keep your dog away from it. Also, consider restricting your dog from going to the yard if you have recently sprayed it.
c) Dry skin
Change in climatic conditions may lead to your dog chewing paws in that it might trigger dry skin. Some dogs will have dry skin during winters in the house is not humidified. You might notice your dog chewing his paws as the season continues but you can be able to help!
Dry skin can also be a result of flea allergies which will need treatment. This allergy is caused by flea saliva and can be prevented by keeping your home free of fleas. Your vet should be able to recommend the best treatment option for the allergy.
If your dog has been chewing his paws or even licking them, you might consider consulting the vet. Cleaning your dog’s place and the bed is helpful in preventing dry skin resulting from fleas.
Other causes of dry skin might include biting habits and genetics. Your dog might have developed dry skin because some breeds are susceptible to the condition. Other dogs just like to spend time licking and chewing their feet.
However, you should see a veterinarian professional diagnose this condition and also treatment.
This is probably the first thing every dog owner will look for whenever they see their dogs chewing their paws. An injury is a possible cause of this habit, especially if the wound is open. He might be chewing on the wound to itch, thus making it even worse.
Your dog might also chew his paws to be able to soothe the pain from an injury. It is important to know that the sound does not have to be visible to you, even a small grass shard can be painful. You can be able to tell if your dog is injured by observing his habits.
Your dog is likely to chew on the paw that is hurting or aching. This should be the first sign to look at if your dog is injured. Once again, treating the wound should be able to stop the behavior.
e) Anxiety and Stress
Dogs love our attention, and we are supposed to give it to them. For this reason, your dog, being a complex animal, will develop coping mechanisms when he is denied the attention. Chewing paws might include what your dog loves to do to get rid of anxiety.
Anxiety might be triggered by different factors, among them loneliness and discomfort. It has been observed in some dogs whenever they are left alone. Other dogs will have anxiety in moving to a new place or change in the family setting. For instance, he might develop anxiety when one member of your family is not around.
It is difficult to diagnose the chewing paws that result from anxiety. However, if you spend time with your pup, you can be able to tell, depending on when the habit starts. You can also take your dog to a vet behaviorist.
Our dogs get bored when we go about our daily routines. No matter how much time you spend with your dog, he is going to miss you when you are at work. For this reason, your dog will not have anything to do when you are gone but wait for you.
A bored dog is bound to be destructive, and unfortunately, he might chew on his paws for distraction. However, keeping your dog happy and well-exercised can help control this habit. You may also consider getting him toys to play with when you are away at work.
g) He enjoys it
Your dog chewing and licking paws maybe be simply because he likes doing it. Some dogs develop a chronic biting habit where they chew their paws for no reason. In such a case, you should always make sure that your dog’s paws are clean after walks and exercising.
h) Fungal infection
Your dog might have developed a yeast from an untreated wound or even small cutting. The infection could also be a result of walking your dog in wet grounds. However, it can be treated with antifungal creams and cleaning your dog’s paws.
Dog chewing on paws. How to prevent dog chewing paws
Unfortunately, dog chewing paw is not such an exciting behavior, rather it is problematic behavior. Sometimes, it might be a symptom of a more serious problem. You should consider taking him to your vet for diagnosis and treatment.
Once you have determined the reason behind your dog chewing paws, you will be able to treat the problem.
Treatment for food allergies in dogs
You can be able to recognize food allergy in your dog if he has symptoms like hives, itchy skin, puffy face, and diarrhea. In more severe situations, your dog might also develop fever, coughing, vomiting, and inflammation of the skin.
Once you take your dog to the vet, he will be examined but you can also help prevent the allergy. One of the most common ways to deal with allergic reactions is to avoid the allergen. For instance, if your dog is allergic to beef, you can avoid including meat in his diet.
Alternatively, your vet may recommend antihistamines and other medications to lessen the symptoms. Your dog should recover in a short period of time.
Avoid walking your dog on treated grass
As mentioned earlier, your dog may be chewing his paws as an allergic reaction to pesticides and herbicides. He might have come in contact with the chemicals during your morning or evening walk. Sadly, it is not easy to know whether grass in the public has been treated. However, you should make sure that your dog does not step in your yard if you recently sprayed it.
In case your dog developed an allergic reaction from chemicals, you can soothe his paws by soaking them in warm water. You may also consider adding iodine povidone, an antifungal to prevent any fungal infections. This could also be important when treating wounded paws.
Dust for mites
Domestication has made it possible for us to live with our dogs. This requires to look after them, and even clean their beds to keep away the parasites. Keeping your dog in a tidy, clean place is also important as your dog will not indulge in undesirable behaviors. These behaviors might include eating poop and itching.
Once you vacuum your dog’s place, you will be minimizing his chances of getting parasitic infections that may cause dry skin. However, you should be careful with the cleaning agents you use as he might also be allergic to it.
It is advised to use detergents without strong smells to avoid allergic reactions.
Dog chewing on paws. Clean your dog’s paws after walks
We have mentioned that your dog may develop an allergic reaction towards chemicals. These could be herbicides of pesticides around the park where you walk him. Since it is hard to tell treated grass and untreated one, you should wash your dog’s paws after every walk.
This will also prevent your dog from licking and consuming harmful chemicals from his paws.
Treat your dog for anxiety
Untreated anxiety may result in your dog chewing paws as a way to cope with the stress. The anxiety might be caused by loneliness and sometimes boredom. You can be able to tell if your dog is suffering from anxiety if he is always seeking your attention.
Some dogs actually develop other behaviors like excessive barking as a result of separation anxiety. Intensive training works well to correct anxiety in dogs. This might involve teaching your dog how to be alone.
You can do this by making your dog stay in another room for a few minutes before he can come to you. You can start off by leaving him for five minutes and then increase the intervals as he gets used to it. This will teach your dog how to be alone at home while you go to work.
Exercising your dog is also important as it reduces stress for your dog and thus lower chances of anxiety. By treating the vice, you will be treating dog chewing paws as well.
Humidify your house
This is especially helpful for dogs that chew paws resulting from dry skin. Winters can be harsh to some dogs and they develop dry skin. However, you can be able to curb this but using a humidifier in your home. This will ensure that the house is moisturized and comfortable for your dog.
Consult your vet
In the case where your dog has developed dry skin from the use of certain products, you should consult the vet. He will be able to advise on the products you should use or avoid your dog. Sometimes your dog can be allergic to shampoo which may need you to change.
Some dogs can be sensitive to others in terms of allergic reactions to products. It is important to observe your dog’s behavior and check for underlying factors.
Home remedies for dog chewing paws
Baking soda bath
If you have noticed excessive chewing of paws in your dog, you can lessen the behavior by running him a baking soda bath. When you bathe him in the water, make sure he soaks for some time. Baking soda is helpful in reducing the itching and discomfort that may come from chewing paws.
This will serve to stop your dog’s behavior as he only licks or chews his paws when it itches.
Apple Cider Vinegar
You should only use apple cider vinegar when your dog has no open wounds on his paws. However, apple cider vinegar is definitely going to curb this behavior but it might sting making a wound even worse.
If your dog has contracted a fungal infection and cannot stop chewing his paws, coconut oil is important as it helps soothe the infected paws. Usually, your dog will concentrate on the infected paw rather than all of them.
In combination with antifungal medication, coconut oil is also an amazing agent in healing yeast or fungal infections. It will curb the itching of the paws as well as fasten the healing period.
If your dog has started chewing his paws all of a sudden, you might want to consider food allergies. This, however, will need to be confirmed by the vet. Does your dog chew paws after a short period upon eating? Something might be causing him an allergic reaction but it is treatable.
there are various reasons why dogs chew paws, as discussed above. It is important to keep your dog in a clean, flea-free area and wash his paws after a walk. Exercising him is equally important.
Make sure you have consulted the vet for diagnosis before administering any medication to your dog. Dog chewing paws is a common behavior in dogs but you should control and prevent the vice.